Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mobilise support for Caroline Lucas’s amendments to the Energy Bill

Could you please circulate this around your contact/member lists

and post up on websites etc.? More information in the Stop New Nuclear newsletter.
Max Wallis
GP Campaign coordinator

Mobilise for Caroline Lucas’s amendments to the Energy Bill

Caroline Lucas, has tabled six amendments to the Energy Bill that is currently going through Parliament. The amendments aim to challenge the unfair support being given to new nuclear at the expense of renewables.

The amendments call for: greater transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of any contracts drawn up between government and nuclear companies; the removal of payments to nuclear companies through contracts for difference or the capacity mechanism; and the removal of any public underwriting of construction costs or other investment contracts.

Caroline has asked for our help in mobilising support for these amendments. We would therefore be very grateful if you could print off the letter below and send it to your local MP. (Its basically asking your MP to support Carolines changes to the Energy Bill).

It would be even better if you added some comments of your own at the top of the letter: apparently MPs take more notice of letters that are personalized.

It would also be really useful for us to know which MPs have been sent the letter. So if youre emailing your letter, could you please add our email address (campaign) in the blind copy/Bcc subject line. If youre sending the letter by post, could you send us a short email to let us know who youve sent it to.

Most important of all, we understand that the report stage of the Energy Bill will take place on the 3rd and 4th of June, so please send your letter as soon as possible.

If you are unsure who your MP is, youll be able to find the details here (if you are unable to open this link, go tohttp://www.theyworkforyou.com).
Many thanks for your continuing support of the Stop New Nuclear Alliance. Well be in touch again soon.

DRAFT LETTER TO MP

Dear [insert name of MP],

I am writing about the Energy Bill to ask you to support the six amendments on nuclear power. These amendments have been tabled by the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, and are gaining cross party support.

I would like you to add your name to amendment numbers 23 to 28 before Report Stage of the Bill, which will take place on 3rd and 4th June, and to represent my views by speaking and voting in favour of these amendments in the House of Commons.

The Coalition Agreement made a very clear promise that new nuclear power stations would only be built if the industry got no public subsidy. I am disappointed that ministers are backtracking from this. Because of the huge cost increases for new reactors and the withdrawal of major companies from the consortium interested in building nuclear power, they are now introducing mechanisms to provide financial support through the Energy Bill.

I am very concerned about the high cost of nuclear power and the secrecy of the Governments negations with EDF Energy. Estimates of the cost of electricity from new nuclear are around double the current electricity prices and the Governments current proposals would lock us into these high prices for the lifetime of the power station, i.e. around 40 years.

You may have read that Connie Hedegaard, the EU climate change commissioner, said that, whilst some people believe nuclear is cheap, even offshore wind is cheaper than nuclear, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/17/wind-cheaper-nuclear-e….

I believe that renewable energy sources, coupled with new storage technology, energy demand reduction, and wider European integration through cross-border electricity interconnectors can provide the necessary generation capacity. Germany is providing a strong example of a nuclear-free energy strategy that is safe and affordable.

Furthermore, Ed Davey, Secretary of State, has said that nuclear power must be price competitive and represent value for money for consumers if it is to be taken forward.

More recently, Michael Fallon, Energy Minister, said: Any deal reached would have to be fair, affordable and value for money. Caroline Flint has said that Labour is in favour of nuclear power but that the decarbonisation of our power supply must be done in the most cost-effective way. And that any strike price agreed must reflect a fair deal for bill payers.

There are three key amendments that I would like you to support even if you are not opposed in principle to nuclear power:

Firstly, in order to achieve these aims, please will you support amendment 24. This already has cross party backing and would ensure that payments under a Contract for Difference for nuclear electricity are not greater than payments for any form of renewable generation. This would recognize that nuclear is a mature technology – as well as cross party consensus on the importance of protecting bill payers from unnecessarily high costs. This amendment would prevent nuclear power from getting a larger subsidy than less mature renewable energy technologies, in terms of price per megawatt hour and the length of the contracts that would be provided.

Secondly, I would like you to support amendments 26 and 27 on transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of any contract. These amendments increase the transparency and accountability around DECCs negotiations with EDF Energy or other companies building new nuclear power, in respect of investment contracts (amendment 26) and contracts for difference (amendment 27). The amendments would require the Secretary of State to ask the National Audit Office and Parliament to examine whether the contracts represent value for money, in line with the backbench business motion debated on 7 February 2013, and the cross party group of MPs and academics who wrote to the NAO recently asking for this, see:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9975199/UK-nuclea…

Thirdly, amendment 28, which rules out payments to nuclear power through the capacity mechanism. There have been reports that DECC is looking at this option. New nuclear power already stands to gain huge subsidies through the contracts for difference and investment contracts in the Bill. Subsiding new nuclear power through the capacity mechanism would also contravene Ministers commitment not to give public subsidies for new nuclear power. This amendment also rules out the possibility that existing nuclear power could receive taxpayer handouts via the capacity mechanism. The capacity mechanism is supposed to be about ensuring supply meets demand at times of peak demand but nuclear is one of the least flexible electricity generation technologies available.

I am strongly opposed to new nuclear power for economic and environmental reasons and I have seen a lot of evidence that we do not need new nuclear to meet carbon emissions reductions. I am also concerned that Government support for new nuclear power will mean much less investment in renewables and energy efficiency. Therefore, as my MP, I would like to you support two further amendments on nuclear too:

Amendment 23: this would rule out payments to new nuclear power through the Contracts for Difference Mechanism in the Energy Bill.

Amendment 25: this would rule out any public underwriting of construction costs or other public support to nuclear through investment contracts. It is widely reported that EDF Energy is seeking underwriting / guarantees in addition to a strike price of around double the market price for electricity. Such incentives are not available to all renewables and therefore this is another unjustifiable subsidy to new nuclear power.

I would be grateful if you could write back to me to confirm whether you will represent my views on nuclear power by supporting some or all of these amendments.

If you are unwilling to support them, at the very least please could you write to Ed Davey [if MP is a Lib Dem] / Michael Fallon [if MP is a Tory]/ Caroline Flint [if MP is Labour] to convey my views on nuclear power.

Thank you in advance for your response and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Name

Address

Date

Stop New Nuclear newsletter

Bridgend Green Party Meeting Agenda – Thursday 23rd May 2013

7.00pm Thursday 23rd May 2013 at the

The Railway PH at the bottom of Station Hill

ALL WELCOME (Especially new members!)

AGENDA:

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers’ reports (Andy/John/Neil)
  5. Councillor feedback (Kathy)
  6. Website ideas (Adam)
  7. Wales Green Party Conference/Council Meeting (John/Trish)
  8. Campaigns update – Fracking / 20’s Plenty (Andy/Gareth)
  9. AOB
  10. DoNM

NOTE – Venue is 1 minute’s walk from both the Bus and Train stations in Bridgend.

REMINDER – If anyone needs a lift to any of our meetings, let Andy know and we will organise it for you.

Bridgend UKIP branch is set up. Should we care?

The Glamorgan Gazette carries the news that ex-Tory Porthcawl Town Council leader Chris Smart has decided to help set up a UKIP branch in Bridgend. I have had several people ask for my reaction to this news. “Welcome” sums it up in a word.

(Chris Smart – it is safer to judge this book by its cover, rather than its name!)

Anything that can help stir up a bit of attention on the moribund political scene in Bridgend has to be welcomed. The fact that they are a right wing party that plays on scapegoats and ignorance is obviously a pretty vile proposition, but who are they going to bother?

They cannot bother the Conservatives too much as there are not that many of them to bother (outside of Porthcawl). This is one of the few consolations of the political scene here in South Wales.

It is hard to imagine the Lib Dem support that has not already melted away being tempted by the UKIP offering. Getting in bed with the Tories has been catastrophic enough; so flirting with ‘super’ Tories cannot appeal.

As for us, they may well nick a chunk of the protest vote that we may otherwise pick up, but that is ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ voters that do not engage with our message, but want to simply give a bloody nose the Party of Power. We have seen that already in local elections, where we can poll 25% in a two horse race as purely the anti-establishment vote. Most of it melts away as soon as others are attracted into the fray. If we are to have any long-term success it has to built on a core vote that is convinced by what we have to say. That simply cannot be anyone remotely tempted by UKIP’s message.

Just in case you remain in any doubt what that message is, as well as peddling the usual immigration myths to scapegoat Johnny Foreigner, in traditional far right tradition, they are also firmly in the the climate change denial camp. You can see the full horror of UKIP’s vision for us here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/07/ukip-policies-manifesto-commitments (Their sop to the Green inclined? “Incentivise the production of electric cars.” Full stop.)

So what of the Labour Party here in Bridgend? Should they be concerned? They clearly have the most to lose, as they hold most already. And Farage has mastered the art of appealing to ‘Blue Collar Conservatives’ – those that all too readily prepared to blame foreigners for our own failings; that discuss their politics over a pint and a fag; that want to believe we can have it all without having to make sacrifices; that will jump at short term fixes, because they are so fed up and miserable now!

While we cannot offer any of this, anything that can challenge the stubbornly blind loyalty to Labour around here cannot be all bad. If their heads can be turned and the eyes and ears opened we may be able to finally engage with them too, and get them to realise that the socialist virtues that truly look after their interests, and were once (but no more) the bedrock of Labour, are now available in the new ecosocialism, based on social justice, localism and sustainability, that we represent in the Green Party.
Now, that would be truly welcome!

Andy Chyba

What can we do about global warming? (to the tune of ‘What can we do with the drunken sailor?’)

The following was posted to the blog as a reply to the recent “Here we go again” posting, but it so good it deserves a wider audience.Hope you like this song.
Best wishes, Oliver Swingler
Ps. If you do, please feel free to pass it on!

What can we do about global warming?
(to the tune of What can we do with the drunken sailor?)

Chorus: What can we do about global warming?
What can we do about global warming?
What can we do about global warming?
Shrink our carbon footprint!

1. Walk, cycle, bus and train
Car share, avoid the plane
Holiday at home, learn to love the rain
Shrink our carbon footprint!

2. Insulate homes and get them lined
Stop oil, gas and coal being mined
Use tidal, solar, wind and find well
Shrink our carbon footprint!

Chorus

3. Organic, local, seasonal eating
Recycle, mend, turn down the heating
Share, cooperate, stop competing
Shrink our carbon footprint!

Watch out! The seas are rising
Cry out! The seas are rising
Bale out! The seas are rising
Save our lovely planet!

4. Dont believe the greenwash, keep on prying
Tax millionaires, stop envy buying
Climate change deniers, theyre all lying
Shrink our carbon footprint!

Chorus:
We can do a lot about global warming
We can do a lot about global warming
We can do a lot about global warming
Save our lovely planet!

Lyrics by Oliver Swingler and Making Waves choir, Cullercoats, UK Version 3 March 2013

Interview on WORLDVIEW with Denis Campbell re the fracking campaign

Tories Make UK “Fracking Mad’: Even Charles Worries

“Andy Chyba, Co-Founder of The UK Anti-Fracking Network joins World View with Denis Campbell to discuss the Tories mad dash to frack for natural gas across the UK and the potential newest ally in the anti-fracking/climate change wars, none other than Prince Charles.”

Here we go again – Bridgend frackers Coastal Oil & Gas blight more areas of the Vale of Glamorgan

News from The Vale Says NO!
Extracts from recent dialogue regarding new Coastal Oil & Gas applications in the Vale of Glamorgan

FROM LIZ MILWARD:

We had a very positive leafletting session in Llantwit yesterday, with many people saying that they would ‘do something’. There was a particular interest in a petition.

Denise met one of our local (independent) councillors who had interesting things to say. Basically, he says that all the three current planning applications are in tory-held council wards, and that all the local councillors are now in favour of COG’s proposals. Whilst this is bad news for those communities, it does at least clear the decks so to speak! Nationally the Conservative party is clearly behind fracking, so it is not a surprising development.

It seems to me that our current best hope is the Welsh Government. There is very interesting research from the USA that finds that success in defeating energy projects is positively associated with two things:

  • a local campaign (however small)
  • a dispute over jurisdiction – for example between local and national government

The research also suggests that even where permission is granted, with these two conditions, the projects don’t get built.

With all that in mind, I suggest that we organise a meeting, to involve all interested parties, to plan a campaign focussed on the Welsh Government.
wordpress_header_nofrack.jpg

FROM ANDY CHYBA:

We know the score re test drilling – the council will NOT even consider turning down any TEST drilling applications after what happened at LLandow.

However, this ought to be seen as an opportunity to raise awareness and stoke up the NIMBYs in the Bonvilston/Dyffryn area – which could be very useful, given the demographics. We can continue to win the arguments and get everyone primed for the crucial battles when fracking is on the table.

FROM LOUISE EVANS:

I received this from Jane Hutts office this week

“Hi Louise
See below for details of the three Coastal oil and Gas applications.

2013/00335/FUL : Land on the west side of the road leading from Llancarfan to Bonvilston (Grid ref. 305209:172962) – Drill an exploration borehole to test for conventional gas reserves in the Devonian
2013/00334/FUL : Unit 20, Sutton Spring Road, Llandow Trading Estate – To drill a single vertical exploration borehole
2013/00333/FUL : Site located in field 400m along an un-named road between the A4266 and Duffryn (grid ref 308215 : 171623) – Drill a single vertical exploration borehole

The deadline for representations at present is 17th May 2013, and they are not due to go to Planning Committee, but that may yet change if they are ‘called in’ by Councillor(s).”

The Vale have set a precedent in allowing the previous application to go ahead – seeing as we weren’t even allowed to mention the Frack word in the appeal, then the only way we can try and stop these application is on genuine planning issues raised by the 24 hour a day drilling noise etc.

Raising awareness is obviously a good idea, so that anyone affected can have their say, but I think throwing the Frack word around won’t get us far with the planning committee anymore!

Who is Fracking the UK?

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/investigations/who-owns-rights-drill-gas-uk

Extract:
A Chinese state owned oil firm, CNOOC, linked by human rights organisations to allegations of rights violations in Tibet and Myanmar (Burma) is an investor in the UK’s onshore drilling industry – according to an analysis of publicly available data by Energydesk.

The oil giant, which completed its acquisition of global oil and gas firm Nexen in February has also been linked to oil spills in the South China Sea.

The company it holds a stake in, Igas, has an interest in a license area which includes chancellor George Osbornes constituency.

Igas is one of the largest holders UK drilling rights alongside fellow unconventional gas explorers Dart, Cuadrilla, Viking and Coal Mine Methane firm Alkane. CNOOC is also linked to Cuadrillas co-owner, AJ Lucas through a Hong-Kong based investment fund.

The ownership of many of the firms proved impossible to verify as the full list of share owners was obscured by large nominee share holdings through financial institutions. One firm, Viking, is owned by an investment division of Barclays.

The latest development comes as the UK’s onshore gas industry enters a period of rapid change – thanks to the prospect of tax breaks and exploratory drilling licenses for unconventional gas.

Whilst global energy giants including BP have suggested that UK shale gas will not be a ‘game changer’, smaller firms – many from Australia, Asia and Canada – and some UK aspiring gas barons have taken an interest in the UKs relatively low-cost exploratory drilling licenses

This means they would be amongst the first to benefit from any profits in the industry.

The UK’s Department Of Energy and Climate change (DECC) has made significant efforts to make all license and block ownership information public and their data, showing ever UK onshore drilling license and its owner, is now available on a Google Map here.